So many people ask each other: “how do we keep our children content during tough travel delays?”
We happened to be traveling this weekend and of course, as luck would have it, a major storm was due to hit north east area on Sunday. We were hearing about it for a few days, but didn’t realize what kind of commotion it would create for all major airlines. On Saturday, we decided to “explore” our options. We already had one flight taking us back to NY on Sunday. However, the flight was not until late afternoon and the panic was setting in. Every station was broadcasting drama: travel disruptions, massive delays, cancellations, prepare for an extended time at the airports. The television was not calming anybody down and we could feel anxiety all around us. Since we travel often, we did what we usually do – we booked 4 other flights on different airlines at different times to make sure we can actually get home. For those of you who are not familiar with this approach, you actually don’t have to spend a lot of money doing this. Most of these tickets you can use at a later date. Even if you didn’t end up flying on that airline, or if the flight was canceled – you get full credit or refund.
Our first flight didn’t pan out, so we tried our luck with the next one. Since we didn’t have any children with us, we arrived at the airport at 11:30am for a noon flight departure, which was already 1 hour delayed from its 11am scheduled departure time. We weren’t rushing because we were anticipating further delays. We got though security pretty quickly because there weren’t a lot of flights taking off and nobody seemed to be in a rush. But don’t be mislead – there were an insane amount of people at the airport, all victims of massive delays and cancellations.
As we walked through the airport, we’ve noticed that almost half of all people at the airport were children. Parents were completely stressed out and didn’t know what to do. Some parents were trying to get their children to participate in a conversation, but most kids looked tired and disinterested. Other parents were too focused on how to get on the next flight and were not paying much attention to their kids. The stress level at the airport was incredibly high and you could cut the tension with a knife. Older children were either eating junk food, jumping out of their skin, or driving their parents insane. Few were reading or using computers. Those were the kids that seemed very content. What was most interesting is that watching children or getting them to calm down was mom’s job. Most mothers were focusing on their children while fathers were screaming on the phone or typing away on their computers. Every mother was struggling to keep their child calm and content, especially mothers with younger children. Some moms were glancing at other moms to see if they were doing something different, something that was working for them. It was mayhem.